Festive atmosphere at polio immunisation camp (With image)

May 24th, 2009 - 6:49 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 24 (IANS) A festive atmosphere prevailed at a state-run healthcare centre here Sunday as US Charge d’Affaires Peter Burleigh arrived to lend his weight to the Indian government’s drive to eradicate polio from the country.
Children ran around excitedly attempting to burst the balloons that had been strung up all around the venue and quietened down only after officials distributed goodies like masks and crazy balls and asked them to line up to receive their polio drops.

Burleigh said he was happy to be part of the initiative.

“I would like to tell all the parents in India that they should get their kids vaccinated every year. It is their responsibility to make their child’s future,” he said after administering the drops to a 22-day old boy that was held by Delhi Health Minister Kiran Walia.

The child’s mother, Kamlesh, seemed rather overwhelmed.

“I don’t know who he is but he seems to be a “barra aadmi” (important person). I am happy he gave drops to my child,” she said.

She, however, had a complaint.

“When I delivered my child, the hospital authorities did not tell me about such camps. It was only through newspaper advertisements that I came to know about this. I’m glad I came,” Kamlesh added.

Apart from enthusiastic parents, there were 50 children brought in from an “Anganwaadi”, a government-run mother and child care centre.

Their escort, Jagdish, said: “I am the caretaker at the anganwaadi. Yesterday, I was asked to bring these children here, so here I am to get them immunised.”

Three-year-old Yash, who was part of the group, seemed wiser than his tender years.

“We have come to take medicine. It will help me a lot. I won’t become handicapped,” said Yash, who had his two-year-old sister Kajal in tow.

Haldar Mathur, a tailor, said he had been visiting such camps for the past three years to get his daughter Punita vaccinated.

“I stay next to the camp and I knew about it for the past two days as they were putting up the boards. It’s not that I don’t know what polio is. When I was in my village, I used to see children who were handicapped. From then on, I decided that I will not let my child suffer like this. So every time the camp is held, I bring Punita to get her vaccinated,” Haldar explained.

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